Why Is Porn Legal But Not Prostitution?

E! Online responds to a question as to why pornography is legal while prostitution is not, considering that people are being paid to have sex during the filming of many pornographic movies:

As the law sees it, “a prostitute gets paid for sex,” Garrell explains, “But a porn star has sex for free and exercises her First Amendment right to express herself. But she charges for it to be filmed.”

In other words, to count as prostitution, the payment must be made for sexual gratification, not for acting—even if that acting brings sexual gratification to thousands of onlookers.

You can find a much more detailed analysis—detailed, if not arousing—here.

There’s some logic to this but it is quite a fine line. I wonder how many agree with this. I suspect that many people are more consistent, either believing both should be legal or, as with myself, believing the government should stay out of both.

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5 Comments

  1. 1
    Mike Hatcher b.t.r.m. says:

    I’m not sure they are all that similar. I’ve never heard of a case of AIDS being passed to or from a DVD.  I assume actors in the adult business have at time contracted disease on the job but like stunt men in a movie, one might have a disclaimer not to try these activities at home.

  2. 2
    Ron Chusid says:

    They are similar in both involve having sex for money. There are also obvious differences as you note.

  3. 3
    Legal Wiz says:

    The part your missing here is that there has to be a pre-existing relationship of sorts.  In the porn industry they are there to do a “job”.  They belong to a union.  There are “rehearsals”.  Managers, actors, directors etc.
    In prostitution, generally, you meet someone out of the blue for a brief interlude.
    Its what I have read before about the topic – “pre-existing relationship” is the difference.

  4. 4
    Ron Chusid says:

    If pre-existing relationship was the real issue, then why isn’t it legal for someone to have scheduled, recurring meetings with a prostitute?

  5. 5
    Feminist says:

    SO why dont we allow women to have unions they can belong to? discuss their safety at work and so on?
    This will of course stop the worry that they spreading HIV etc.  Because its clearly the women not the men who obiously toubled with controlling their sex desires and are so desperate they have to pay for it. Its rather amusing that one assumes straight away that its the supply who got the disease not the demand.  Both women at pornographic video or women working the streets are selling sex. I personally do not understand why women on the street are so much of a problem.

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